More than 250 arrested after Ethiopia coup bid: officials

Friday June 28 2019

Memorial of army chief Gen Seare Mekonnen.

People weep in Addis Ababa on June 25, 2019 at the memorial of Ethiopian army chief Gen Seare Mekonnen who was assassinated on June 22, 2019 in an alleged coup attempt. PHOTO | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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Ethiopia's security forces have arrested more than 250 people in a sweeping crackdown following a failed suspected coup attempt and the assassination of five high-ranking officials, a government taskforce said Thursday.

The country has been on high alert since the attacks at the weekend in the capital Addis Ababa and northern Amhara state left the national army chief, a retired general and three senior regional officials dead.

A taskforce commissioned to probe what the government has called an attempted coup by a renegade security chief said the attackers conspired to kill a "wide array of government officials".

The Security and Justice Taskforce "has arrested 212 suspects in Amhara region and 43 suspects in Addis Ababa," it said in a statement issued late Thursday.

"Destructive forces have set aside the government's mercy and kindness to commit an act of treason," it added.

Two heavy machine guns and 27 automatic rifles were also seized during the arrest.

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The two attacks happened hundreds of kilometres apart and have been described as an attempted coup.

The taskforce, however, said it was still investigating whether in fact the two attacks were related.

The violence has underscored the pressure on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has pursued democratic and economic reforms that critics say have left the country divided and wracked by ethnic fighting.

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